Nate Shaw

Nate Shaw

For 20 years keyboardist Nate Shaw has been performing around the globe. His touring groups have included Bebop Jazz sextet, Motion Poets, which released three CDs to wide critical acclaim, the explosive world music trio, New Power Trio, featuring Yo Yo Ma’s percussionist of choice, Mark Suter, and his current favorite, the Brooklyn based, Gowanus Reggae And Ska Society. Nate has released 9 CDs and can be heard as a sideman on dozens more. Nate's goal as a teacher is to inspire and cultivate a desire to explore music and all of it’s magic. He encourages creativity and discourages fear of the unknown. He is a strong believer in the notion that music lives in each and every one of us, it simply needs to be nurtured in the correct way in order to blossom. He also believes that developing a student’s musicality takes time, focus, support, and discipline.

The other day I received a call from a parent asking to discuss his daughters progress in her band she is enrolled in. I run a small music school called the Brooklyn Music Factory and a cornerstone of our program is the bi weekly band rehearsals. Kids can sign up for different styles of music like the all Motown band, Atlantic Ave. Soul Review or the New Wave synth group, Club Keyboard. The kids love the chance to practice and eventually perform and for the band leaders (teachers) it is wonderful to dive head first into one genre or songwriter. What the phone call from this father made me realize is that it is not as easily apparent to those observing the actual musical value of a band program. Sure, they see that their child is having fun, in fact, tons of fun, but as this parent pointed out, “sometimes if a kid is having too much fun, how can they really be learning anything?” This entry is dedicated to how to respond to parents effectively and what I see to be the value of the group learning environment that can be both tons of fun and extremely educational.

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This is an article that I wrote last spring, but it seems like perfect timing for those of you looking to grow your studio next Fall or even this Spring. It’s never too early to ask lots of questions and start planning ……or not! Since writing this, I went on to open a small music school in Brooklyn, NY: www.BrooklynMusicFactory.com

For the past three months I have been laying the groundwork for expanding my teaching studio in the fall. I currently don’t teach that many students (13) as I have a number of other professional commitments in music. I spend part of every week scoring for TV/Documentaries from my home studio and the other part practicing for gigs around New York. I have in the last year, though, become really excited about teaching like never before. Not exactly sure what has changed though I think watching my two daughters grow up and seeing how they learn has a lot to do with it. Something seems to have clicked and I’ve decided it’s time to ratchet it up a notch. But then I get a bit nervous….

When is it just the right balance between teaching, performing, and composing? Finding balance, this is my topic for today. [···]

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Another Simple Game That Kids Love
Three Card Composition

I came up with this composition game for my students a couple weeks back and thought I would share it with all as part of my “Simple Games” series of blog entries. It takes about 15 minutes to complete and I use it as the very first activity of the lesson. The idea behind it is to get students thinking about composition from a visual point of view as well as an aural one. And to explore how compositions can be manipulated to create new sounds without altering the notes.

Here is what you need for the game:
1.Hal Leonard’s All-Purpose (Dry Erase) Music Flashcards. Available @ Amazon for $11.95. Here is a link- http://www.amazon.com/Hal-Leonard-All-Purpose-Music-Flashcards/dp/B0002MQJMY
2.Two dry erase markers. (preferably different colors)

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